After a month and a half of waiting, we finally were able to get in and see a behavioral therapist today. One that our insurance covers with a copay (finally)!!! She has her office at the Autism Society of Minnesota headquarters. By the way, check out this adorable picture of Sam on the advocacy page of our state's website, click here! Okay, enough bragging, although I am sad, because he is already well over a year older since that picture was taken. They grow up way too fast!!
Brent actually flew in early this m0rning (he was out of state for work, we do live together:) to make the meeting. I was so glad he could be there. Given his crazy travel and work schedule, he has not missed a meeting. We asked a lot of questions about our concerns with his need for whole body stim, safety issues, communication issues, his agressive behavior when having a melt down that is leading to more dangerous situations for him and others, just lots of things.
She gave us sooooooooooo many things to work on, and Brent and I are excited to begin. It is going to involve a lot of work, redoing some of our picture schedules, creating more "therapy spots" in the home, lots of time, but mostly lots of love, which we have.
One of the things she shared with us, which I will share with my autism friends is a concept that was new to us when using Social Stories. Instead of verbalizing the written story(and doing pictures), she suggested video taping Sam doing the things we are needing to work on. For example, taping him walking safely across the street, or taping him coming to talk to us before "escaping", I mean him wanting to go out to play :). She told us she has been involved with recent studies looking more at the thing that frustrates us most about Sam. And that is he can tell us exactly what he needs to do in situations after only being told once, but he can't apply it for himself. This has been most frustrating for us, but she explained some of the research showing the brain connections with autistic children,and that they can understand and even apply to other people these procedures, but the part of the brain that allows them to see themselves doing the task doesn't always connect, even with a picture of themselves. For them to physically see themselves moving through the actions on video is finding some success with other familes who have tried it. So, we are excited about taking our social stories to a new level of "animation"!!!
She also suggested we follow through with applying for county assistance for developmental disabilities, as she thought we could use more help in the home, and could get him more services. I have put off filling out the the 200 page application (it just seems that long) because we couldn't afford the TEFRA copay, and because the "waiver" waiting list has been closed for two years with no opening date in sight. So, I am now motivated to do that again, and at least get a case worker assigned to Sam as she suggested. I am sharpening pencils as we speak (oh wait, it says use blue ink only).
The last thing she encouraged, was for us to finally look at RDI. I have been poo pooing it this past year. Trying to just read up on it, but again, thought it looked expensive, considering our stupid insurance. But, I know some of you out there have had success with it, and others also by just going to conferences and self educating, instead of paying providers and consultants. I would love feedback on how RDI has helped any of you, and suggestions on going full boar, or just taking peices that work, or whatever suggestions you have. THANKS!!!
It is nice to talk with someone, and the new behavioral therapist gave us that little motivation to get back at it, and she also gave us a breath of fresh air.